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Cell Metab. 2013 May 7;17(5):685-94. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2013.03.016.

Metabolic stress modulates Alzheimer's β-secretase gene transcription via SIRT1-PPARγ-PGC-1 in neurons.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Medicine, 874 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38163, USA.


Classic cardio-metabolic risk factors such as hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia all increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. We found increased transcription of β-secretase/BACE1, the rate-limiting enzyme for Aβ generation, in eNOS-deficient mouse brains and after feeding mice a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet. Up- or downregulation of PGC-1α reciprocally regulated BACE1 in vitro and in vivo. Modest fasting in mice reduced BACE1 transcription in the brains, which was accompanied by elevated PGC-1 expression and activity. Moreover, the suppressive effect of PGC-1 was dependent on activated PPARγ, likely via SIRT1-mediated deacetylation in a ligand-independent manner. The BACE1 promoter contains multiple PPAR-RXR sites, and direct interactions among SIRT1-PPARγ-PGC-1 at these sites were enhanced with fasting. The interference on the BACE1 gene identified here represents a unique noncanonical mechanism of PPARγ-PGC-1 in transcriptional repression in neurons in response to metabolic signals that may involve recruitment of corepressor NCoR.

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